"Well don't all vaginas look the same?"
The question was posed innocently, if a little drunkenly, and in perfect seriousness by a friend of mine who reads this blog very occasionally and who has confessed to me that while she doesn't hold any of my activities against me they are really not for her.
Another woman in the group who is a midwife saved me from having to explain that they definitely were not. My drunken friend's response to the correction was even more unexpected,
"Really, I just assumed that they were like penises? All just ugly?"
This statement speaks volumes about this particular woman's attitude to sex in general but that is not really what I wanted to talk about. I was heartened to hear a chorus of disagreement about the relative beauty of penises (penii???) from the assembled group which was mainly 30 – 40 year old mums with a small smattering of men thrown in. We had gathered to celebrate a mutual friend's 40th. Hence the consumption of larger than normal amounts of alcohol.
Reflecting a little about my friend's ideas I realise that her perception is probably not really all that unusual. When you consider that most heterosexual women only ever see their own vagina if they are curious enough to get a mirror out and look, they may get a look at their mothers if their mother isn't as uptight as mine and they may get a look at their teenage friend if both girls aren't totally weirded out by the idea. So a woman like my friend may go through her life and only ever see one or two vaginas in the flesh. When they become adults (or teenagers) they may see pornography but for a lot of women my age that exposure is probably quite limited as well. So the idea that all vaginas look the same is quite feasible because unless we become rabid sex fanatics, lesbians or midwives then we will only get to see a small sample. So it is conceivable that the conservative heterosexual woman will travel through life having only laid eyes on one or maybe two vulvas.
I recently watched a documentary about the effect of pornography on teenage sexual expectations. One of the points raised by the makers of the documentary was that a lot of teenage girls feel pressured to look like porn stars because they think that is what their boyfriends want. The women who feature in pornography have mostly 'innies' with no hair. There are no 'outies' or asymmetrical vulvas and the outer lips are usually large enough to keep everything nicely covered until needed. Teenage girls who have watched porn look at these images and then their own vulva and feel like they are deformed if they don't have the pert neatness of a porn star. These girls are undergoing surgery because their inner labia extend past their outer labia and are perceived to be unattractive. Or because they are not symmetrical or a whole raft of other features which my midwife friend would be able to tell them are perfectly 'normal'. I feel very sorry for women who are of ethnic or dark skinned heritage who have colouring that can't be corrected surgically and feel that they are not attractive at all.
I am in possession of an 'innie' and have been told that it is rather attractive; I guess because it does conform with what is currently considered to be an attractive vulva. My daughter has also been spared the stress and embarrassment of most girls because she also possesses a 'beautiful' vulva. Unless fashion changes and outies become fashionable. Anything is possible. Mrs Fix It also has an innie. When we were discussing my friend and her ideas she told me that she would probably had the same ideas until she and her husband started exploring a bit. Unlike me, her daughter has an outie which, unless she had seen outies and realised that they were quite normal, she probably could have perceived as a problem and sought medical advice!
Like everything in this world we are all going to have personal preferences about what we think looks the best or gives us the most pleasure. There are going to be people who think innies are more attractive than outies and vice versa. The reality is that we get what we get when we are made and we can't really change that, unless we want to spend all that money and go through the pain of surgery. There are very, few vulvas in the world that are incapable of giving great pleasure both to their owners and the people who choose to play with them if they are operated correctly. What the vulva looks like doesn't really change the amount of pleasure that can be derived from stimulating it in the right way. When little girls start to explore their bodies in those years before they see pornography or get a boyfriend who watches porn they don't stop to consider what they look like. They are more concerned with getting pleasure from their secret place. Why should it change when they get older?
If you are interested in reading more about what women think about and like to do with their vaginas and vulvas check out some of the entries on the Pussy Pride Project at Molly's Daily Kiss.